Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Supergirl Episode 308: Crisis On Earth X Part One

Hey everyone!

It's difficult for me to know exactly how I am going to break down the review of the CW crossover event 'Crisis on Earth X' here on the site. But as the Supergirl episode 'Crisis on Earth X, Part One' had a lot of Alex/Kara moments embedded in it, I felt I should review it by itself.

In the end, I may review the remaining three parts all in one giant post. Or I may split it if it gets too heavy.

But either way, as I am writing this, we are done and I am thoroughly and utterly pleased with this. As I have said many times before, if you told a young Anj that 4 DC televisions shows would be on at one time, that they would not only deal with the comic characters but embrace the entirety of the DCU, and that one of them would be Supergirl, I would tell you to not talk nonsense.

And yet, here we are.

Nothing says comics more than a crossover. Nothing says DC more than a Crisis. And all of those early JLA/JSA stories were 'Crisis on ____' so this is just a perfect title for an old time comic fan like me.

And I just love the fact that this crossover came with this specific title card, making sure that everyone understands the magnitude of this event.

But most importantly, important things happen in this crossover. Major, show-changing events occur, changing the landscape of three shows definitively while adding thematic progression to the other.

In a time when finding joy can be difficult, I am glad this is happening. Because I am joyous of the whole thing. So far it is just incredible.

We start out with a slow pan over a city beneath red skies dotted with massive lightning bolts. But as the sweep through the city we see zeppelins floating over a landscape of darkness punctuated with Nazi symbolism everywhere.

This is Earth X.

But I have to wonder if the red skies and lightning are there only to remind us of Crisis on Infinite Earths, or if this world is actually under attack like the worlds in COIE, or if it is just that on a world that has turned this dark that the atmosphere itself will be blood red.

Can you imagine if next year's crossover is Crisis on Infinite Earths??

Not that we needed actual horror to know this place is evil (heck it's run by Nazis) but we get a brutal opening to show how dark this place is.

A group of rebels is hoping to get a device working to 'bring hope to this darkened world'. Before we can see what the device actually is, Nazi storm troopers led by an evil Green Arrow storm the facility. In no time we see this Arrow perforate and kill a number of rebels. 

Then, to make sure we get how dangerous this Ollie is, we see him fight the Earth X Guardian, in a more star-spangled version of the armor. It is brutal fight which ends with the scarred Guardian dead, an arrow in the chest. I have to say, I like that James is a freedom fighter on this Earth X and that he has a patriotic look to his get-up.

With the resistance dead, Arrow strolls in and see the large platform-like device and says that with this the current reign will last an eternity.

Take it from me, that was a great opener.

The event which initially brings all the shows together is a nice one, Barry and Iris getting married. We get quick peeks at the main characters of the shows as they prepare for the upcoming wedding. All the heroes have forgotten to RSVP. (Like the title card, I love that each city had it's own unique locale title, based on the show's title font.)

Iris complains about Barry's friends as Barry fights King Shark in the streets of Central City.
Felicity tells Ollie she is saying they are going to attend all while Arrow fights ninjas.
The Legends are fighting in Robin Hood's time when they realize they need to get into the present to attend. (I love that White Canary frankensteiners one of the Sheriff's men.)

All these scenes play out with the usual witty banter the shows are known for.

As for National City?

Kara is in the middle of a brutal fight with a Dominator. There are two spots worth showcasing.

One, I love this pancake body slam onto a car, shattering it to bits. I love when Supergirl kicks butt.

And second, I love Kara laying the thing out with a vicious uppercut. Stupendous. And it is made all the better when Supergirl says that fighting Dominators was 'so last year.' It works two ways, one to say they are passe as villains. But more importantly, they were the villains of last year's crossover. Excellent!

Back at Kara's apartment, the Danvers sisters lament being in the relationship limbo/agony they are in. Alex, of course, continues to drink her way into numbness ... a growing problem no doubt. Then Kara decides the best way to get over their misery is to head to Barry's wedding. Using the breach device from last year's crossover, they hope to Earth 1.

I do think it is totally last minute for Kara to RSVP two days before the wedding! Where are those El manners??

Just like that, everyone is together prepping for the wedding. I liked seeing these personal/non-super scenes of the characters just interacting. Here, the women are getting manicures (except Kara whose nails can't be cut). Remember, part of the theme of this season for Kara is her dealing with her emotions and trying to be 'less human'. But here, she joins in the conversation about love, discussing her and Mon-El while Felicity talks about her and Ollie.

Meanwhile, Barry and Ollie try on their tuxes and talk about love and how everyone, even Ollie, deserves love. Suddenly Barry is the mentor.

Meanwhile, the ancillary characters also interact. Wells and Cisco have worked to create a 'cure' for Firestorm. This solution would basically depower and decouple Stein and Jax.

I have to include the fact that this was run through a 'Conway class' device, certainly a name drop of Firestorm's creator Gerry Conway.

Now one of the things that I truly love about these shows is that they have been on long enough to have a continuity, a history of their own. And so when the show builds on it, it makes me happy.

I love this scene between Stein and Caitlyn where they reminisce about Ronny. The Ronny/Caitlyn wedding was the last one they attended together. She helped with the Firestorm 'cure', something Stein had recognized. These two have more than your average history together. So to see them chatting and remembering Ronny made me very happy. A small but wonderful touch.

Finally, we get to the rehearsal dinner held, of course, at CC Jitters.

As usual, there is Alex downing scotch. As she trades shots with White Canary, even Barry notices. He tells Kara that Alex is 'tipping her elbow'. I hope this is addressed at some point. But Sara and Alex commiserate about being in front of the world's happiest couple.

Meanwhile, Barry tells Kara that despite Mon-El and her desire to just be Supergirl that it is okay for her to love. This is hammered home by Joe's speech where he talks about how love is the most important thing in the universe. Kara needs to hear this from as many people as she can.

Finally, Stein tells Jax he can sever their link and give Jax powers, the power to stick to things. Jax outright talks about Spider-Man. I wonder if their is some deal with Marvel. Earlier this season on the Flash, Barry talked about the Hulk and mentioned Spidey-sense.

The rehearsal dinner ends on something of a sour note when Felicity loudly turns down Ollie's proposal.

While everyone else seems to retire to couches to sleep, we see Alex wake up in bed ... with Sara.

Hoo boy.

She tries to sneak out but falls out of the bed making a loud thump. Insanity.

Outside the church, Alex stumbles over her excuses about where she was the night before until Sara walks up and basically lets the cat out of the bag. I love how Kara's facial expressions slowly change over the course of the conversation from first awkward realization of the one night stand to actual happiness that Alex had some fun.

Best interaction. Alex says 'do you know what I did??' and Kara says 'not the specifics!'. I love the Danvers sisters. And Chyler Leigh and Melissa Benoist have such easy chemistry; they act like sisters! That is such a draw for me.

Before the wedding starts, a young girl heads up to Barry and offers him some water.

She then stammers through an awkward conversation where she says she is happy to come to weddings, that his wedding will be one for the ages, and that she once again is thrilled to be there.

I see what you're doing here CW. Between the 'one for the ages' line and the Legion focus on Supergirl and the ponytail, this has to be ...

She has to be XS.

The ceremony begins and Kara sings the processional song.

And it 'Running home to you'! That's the song Barry snag when he proposed at the end of last year's Duet episode. Again, continuity is key and wonderful.

The priest (played by William Katt!!) begins the rite with the usual fluff and then the classic 'speak now of forever hold your peace' line.

In perfect timing as soon as he says that line he is vaporized by heat vision. Now that is crazy and wild.

And then Nazis storm the wedding. In unison, Ollie and Kara both say they hate Nazis. Who doesn't!

And not only are there Nazi soldiers but also the evil Arrow, Overgirl, and Prometheus.

A huge skirmish breaks out in the church! Cisco tells Caitlyn to introduce the Nazis to her 'evil roommate' ... meaning Killer Frost. Love that line.

But on one side we have Flash, Kid Flash, Vibe, Killer Frost, Arrow, White Canary, Alex, and Firestorm versus the Earth X evil team. Love to see Sara wielding an incense burner like a chain and weight weapon. And her and Alex demolish Prometheus.

Meanwhile the masked Overgirl brawls with Supergirl inside the church, outside the church, and in the skies. Nothing like a heat vision battle!

In the end, Kara is thrown back into the church. As General Overgirl approaches, Kara turns around and delivers a super-clap, unleashing a sonic wave which injures Overgirl and blows the Nazis away. The wounded Earth Xers retreat, disappearing in a burst of light.

I loved this sequence and the special effects here. I love that Kara is blurry, as if warped by the sonics.

In the end, we see Dark Arrow revealed as Ollie, Overgirl revealed as an evil Kara, and the third member of the evil triad ... the Earth 1 Reverse Flash, still alive and wearing the face of Harrison Wells.

Benoist plays the evil Kara with delicious wickedness saying lines like 'peace is overrated' and how they will kill everyone on this Earth.

Now that is a great opening chapter! And, knowing what I know about the rest of this I have to be thrilled. This theme of Supergirl and her humanity and her needing to have heart is played out throughout. 

I will say that the politics tend to get a little on the nose, no big surprise. But overall, I can't complain!!


Anonymous said...

Very entertaining. It's funny to see fans saying this is how you make a "Justice League".

"Can you imagine if next year's crossover is Crisis on Infinite Earths??"

... I'd rather not. Unless Kara fights the Anti-Monitor and survives. I don't want them to kill Supergirl or rehashing the "Death of Superman".

Regarding the young girl, I guess it may be Dawn Allen, but I'm inclined to think she's XS. If so, the casting was perfect.

But if she is Barry's descendant, where's her brother/cousin? Why didn't she warn Barry against the Earth-X's invaders? Fear to muchup the timestream? There's a Legion in Earth-1? Or she's also a reality-traveller?

"The priest (played by William Katt!!)"

I watched that show when I was a child! This takes me back.

And the SG/OG battle was real good. Funny how people asks if Superman has done the Super Clap before. It's been done by him, his cousin, Superboy-Prime...

"In the end, I may review the remaining three parts all in one giant post."

I think it may be the best option.

Anonymous said...

P.D.: I'm sorry for the off-topic, but this is important:

Super Sons Annual. Streaky.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting Anj, and I can understand the difficulty of choosing how to break down the rest of the episodes,
especially since there's so many great Supergirl, Supergirl/Overgirl, and Supergirl / Alex moments throughout! And
let me also say compared to last year's crossover, the better balance of Supergirl moments throughout the 4 episodes,
and the higher count of interteam personal moments was MUCH appreciated -- my highlights are the Alex and White
Canary bits, Heatwave being his usual pig / jerk self to everyone else, and the pedicure scene between the women of
Team Flash, Team Arrow and Team Supergirl; the "superstrong nails" comment was just icing on the cake!

Also cracked me up to no end Supergirl's pre-wedding superheroing was taking out a Dominator by herself, and the quip
of "you guys are so last year!" PRICELESS!!

But the supersonic clap takedown of Overgirl and the Earth-X invasion force BY FAR had to be the most EPIC scene of
this episode!

Kudos also to the Kara / Barry 1:1 during the rehersal dinner -- I noted how Barry was the only one Kara told the full
Mon-El story to which was a nice touch, and I do hope in the future Kara will be able to mentor Barry in some way, just
as a nice turnabout fairplay -- as well as the secret injoke between the two to have Kara sing at Barry's wedding.
I can't think of a higher compliment Barry can pay to Kara to be a direct part of his ceremony!

Thanks for pointing out some of the historicals / easter eggs... I'd especially wondered about the server girl and Barry
as it seemed like an unnecessary bit.

To comment a bit further on the whole Alex x White Canary bit, I'm lining my pants for the inevitable yay/nay shippers
on this -- I don't follow LOT that much, but the sense I get is White Canary doesn't feel much emotionally, and is
portrayed as "the loose, promiscuous one," especially with people of the same sex. That being said, having watched
the other 3 epsisodes of the crossover, there is a nice wrapup given to the two, and a nice way for both of them to
move forward character-wise.

> Can you imagine if next year's crossover is Crisis on Infinite Earths??

QUICK! Someone send that idea to TPTB... minus the death of Supergirl, of course.


Anonymous said...

I doubt DC would ever permit Berlanti et al access to the COIE's storyline, I'm sure they'd prefer to hold onto it for a blockbuster theatrical feature (which will no doubt heavily traffick in Supergirl's Death and expulsion from human memory....).
My big takeaway from this ep is weirdly paradoxical, Kara seems to be in complete blissful denial about her sister's obvious hollow leg, its a emotional trail she refuses to follow.
Geez I repeat myself but Benoist has a nice set of pipes, when all this is over she can easily segue to Broadway and play "Reno Sweeney" in "Anything Goes".
I enjoyed the crossover immensely, regardless of its plotholes and contrivances it had a robust "Lookit what we can do on teevee" also 'rekindled" a perverse desire on my part to see Supergirl team up with Heatwave they'd be the oddest couple on TV no question.


Anj said...

Thanks for comments.
Some great moments for Kara(s) are coming up.
I think Alex’s drinking has been mentioned so prominently in episodes that we must be nearing a reckoning.
One thing about this crossover was the gun violence. Alex and Sara shoot lots of Nazis!

Anonymous said...

Oh yes Alex seemingly shot dozens of Waffen SS Guards in the head at close range...


Paul said...

I’m glad you mentioned it was XS, I had guessed it was one of the Tornado Twins.

Scrimmage said...

I enjoyed this episode, and the entire four-show crossover. It was like a live action version of a “giant-sized wedding issue” in the comics, that would INEVITABLY turn into a super-sized brawl featuring a “cast of thousands.”

To quote my favorite character in the whole x-over, Heatwave...


That guy had some KILLER one liners! I've always been a fan of Dominic Purcell, and the girl who plays Felicity, even though I quit watching Arrow after S2, and never could get into Legends at all. Ironically, my biggest complaint about those shows is that I find the large number of “heroes” on them to be unwieldy, diluting the development of the individual characters down to predictable clich├ęs and plot twists. Of course, since a bunch of good guys needs a bunch of bad guys to fight, the action scenes in both Arrow and Legends too often degenerate into repetitive, often bloodless battles with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of nameless, faceless ninjas; fights that take up half the show, and never resolve anything.

While I admit there's still a lot of that sort of thing going on in “Crisis On Earth X,” in this case, those extended battles made sense because this time around, the Heroes were LITERALLY going against an ARMY! Unfortunately, they also seemed to be operating under the Rules of War, because the body count on BOTH sides was extraordinarily high (especially for an early evening, network time slot) throughout the crossover.

The Nazis' victims were mostly helpless civilians, including the poor Minister, who was just trying to officiate a wedding, but what REALLY stunned me was the way the Heroes were mowing down the bad guys left and right, showing no mercy, and taking NO prisoners! There was one shocking scene (shown twice, from two different angles), where Alex, in close combat with a Nazi, spun around and shot her disarmed opponent in the head at point blank range. Whoa!

Meanwhile, Green Arrow was putting shafts through Nazi heads and chests as quickly as he could notch another arrow, while White Canary, and some of the other, less familiar Legends, were busy spraying automatic weapons fire in the general direction of anybody wearing black. I haven't seen this kind of gratuitous, graphic violence on a network TV show since “The A-Team” was canceled, but viewing it in the context of the storyline, it worked!

Fortunately, Supergirl did not use lethal force against the Nazis like she did a few episodes ago, when she disintegrated five White Martians without batting an eye. Instead, she confined herself mostly to battling her Evil Twin to a standstill, until Overgirl's failing health decided the ultimate victor in EXPLOSIVE fashion.

The double wedding at the end was a sweet, and unexpected surprise. It wrapped things up in a nice little bow (and Arrow).

I'm going to have to watch this all again, to see if I can pick up on some things I may have missed the first time around, but my first impression was that this was a VERY successful, and well done crossover! I think the fact that it was spread out over four hours was the key, because it allowed the writers time to include the kinds of character interactions we like to see in these things, without detracting from all the action. This is going to be hard to top!

Scrimmage said...

Question: Do we know WHY Evil Kara's heart was failing? They said something about “overexposure” to yellow sunlight, but THAT doesn't make any sense at all. A yellow sun should only make her stronger over time. It's certainly never been an issue for Kal-El. Is this something that Supergirl should be concerned about in the future? Hmm...

When she took off the completely unnecessary mask, Overgirl was very sexy! Maybe it was just her darker lipstick, the skirtless uniform, or just her “REALLY Bad Girl” attitude, but she was smokin' HAWT! Kudos to Melissa Benoist for her ability to differentiate between two identical, but very different characters. Even Overgirl's voice was different, with perhaps a hint of a German accent. Good stuff.

I thought Alex's completely unexpected ONS with Sarah was fun, as were a lot of the little vignettes, like Felicity's envy of Kara's ability to “sleep-fly.” That DID look super comfortable! I didn't particularly care for the romance between The Ray and Captain Cold. It just seemed a bit TOO contrived to me. I mean, a “Gay Ray” named Ray??? Isn't that a little TOO “on the nose?” The death of Victor Garber's character was a downer, but unfortunately, it also exposed the dramatic limitations of the actor playing the other half of Firestorm, Jax. He wasn't very convincing, simply because he's a TERRIBLE actor. Watching him try (and fail) to emote, I kept wondering how he ever got this gig in the first place. Fortunately, he's the exception to the rule.

It was great fun watching this huge, and talented cast mix and mingle in ways we seldom get to see. Kara singing beautifully, hungover Alex making the Walk of Shame, General Winn, heroic Killer Frost, dead Guardian, Iris and Felicity kicking Nazi butt, and on, and on, and on! Now THAT'S what I call entertainment!

marksweeneyjr said...

Considering the ways in which the TV continuity diverges from the comics, I don't see why the young server can't be XS AND Dawn Allen.